1266th OGM and open lecture - Royal Society of NSW News & Events - The Royal Society of NSW

1266th OGM and open lecture

Richard Kemp

   “The psychology of eyewitness memory”

   Professor Richard Kemp
   School of Psychology
   University of NSW

Wednesday 5 September 2018
Gallery Room, State Library of NSW, Sydney

In criminal investigations eyewitnesses often provide police with vital information leading to the identification of a suspect. However, a detailed examination of cases of wrongful conviction from the USA shows that, while providing compelling evidence, eyewitnesses can be mistaken. In this presentation Professor Parker described how psychological research into eyewitness memory can be used to inform policy change to reduce the risk of erroneous conviction. Using an interactive format he demonstrated the surprising fragility of human memory and described research he has undertaken with colleagues to identify procedures that increase the risk of memory distortions, and measures which can be employed to safeguard against these risks. He ended by describing some challenges and opportunities for the future, including the increased use of machine face recognition systems to monitor public spaces, and a new smart phone App developed in conjunction with police that is designed to help witnesses provide detailed, accurate accounts of events.

Professor Richard Kemp is a cognitive scientist and forensic psychologist who seeks to apply research in the fields of human memory and perception to aspects of the legal system. Richard obtained his PhD from London University and moved to UNSW Sydney in 2001. His current research interests include, identity verification and face perception, eyewitness memory, police interviewing and forensic science evidence. Richard has undertaken his research in collaboration with a variety of partner organisations, including State and Federal government agencies, Police and emergency service organisations and banks and financial service providers. He has provided expert evidence in a number of significant court cases in Australia and overseas, and is regularly asked to address conferences of judges, lawyers, police and other legal professionals. Current projects include work with the Australian Passport Office to detect identity fraud in passport applications, the development of a smart phone App to help people recall details of events they have witnessed, the impact of police body-worn cameras on officers’ recall of events, and the validation of forensic science techniques. He has about 100 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited more than 4500 times. He has been awarded over $3 million in competitive research funding from ARC and other bodies.

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